MC Lyte

MC Lyte
Lyte at the October 14, 2007 BET Hip Hop Awards
Background information
Birth name Lana Michelle Moorer
Born (1970-10-11) October 11, 1970[1]
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Emcee-songwriter, model, actress, speaker, DJ, voiceover talent, narrator, mentor
Years active 1987–present
Labels DuBose Music Group[2]
First Priority Music/Atlantic Records
East West America/Elektra Records
Associated acts Audio Two, Grand Puba, LL Cool J, Xscape

MC Lyte (born Lana Michelle Moorer; October 11, 1970)[3] is an American rapper who first gained fame in the late 1980s, becoming the first solo female rapper to release a full album with 1988's critically acclaimed Lyte as a Rock.[4] She has long been considered one of hip-hop's pioneer feminists.[5][6][7]

Early life

Lana Michelle Moorer was born in 1970.[3] Raised in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, she began rapping at the age of 12.[8]

She regards Milk D and DJ Giz, the hip hop duo Audio Two, as "totally like [her] brothers", because the three grew up together. Audio Two's father Nat Robinson started a label for them called First Priority.[9] After making the label, Robinson cut a deal with Atlantic with one condition, that Lana would get a record contract with Atlantic as well.[10]

Personal life

She met and started dating Marine Corps veteran and entrepreneur John Wyche in early 2016, after meeting on They announced their engagement in May 2017, and were officially wed in August.[11]

Musical career

Originally, her stage name was Sparkle.[9] At age 14, she began recording her first track, although it took two years before it was able to be released.[12]:1 In 1987, when she was 17, Lyte began publicly outshining other MCs. She was also featured in the remix and music video of "I Want Your (Hands on Me)" by Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor which debuted in May 1988 on MTV. In September 1988, she released her first album, Lyte as a Rock. Written over the course of many years,[12]:3 the album was noted for such hits as "Paper Thin", its title track, and the battle rap "10% Dis", a response from then-Hurby Azor associate, Antoinette.[12]:3 Both rappers released battle records against each other. Lyte followed her debut with 1989's Eyes on This, which spawned the hits "Cha Cha Cha" and "Cappucino". Both albums were notable for Lyte's uncensored lyrical matter. She sweetened up a little on 1991's Act Like You Know, noted for its new jack swing sound and the hit single "Poor Georgie". Lyte's fourth album, 1993's Ain't No Other, became her first to reach gold status and was notable for her first top 40 pop hit, "Ruffneck".[12]:6 "Ruffneck" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Single, making MC Lyte the first female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy.[8] She later went on to become a featured artist on hits by Janet Jackson[12]:7[13]

Two years afterward, Lyte's fifth album, Bad As I Wanna B, featured production from Jermaine Dupri and Sean Combs. Its hits were "Keep on, Keepin' On" (which originally appeared on the Sunset Park soundtrack) and "Cold Rock a Party", the latter of which also featured then up-and-coming rapper, songwriter and producer Missy Elliott.[12]:8 This album was her first with East West Records America and became successful after the aforementioned singles became big hits with "Keep on, Keepin' On" peaking at the top ten and "Cold Rock a Party" peaking at number eleven. It was her second gold album. Her 1998 follow-up, Seven & Seven, however, was not as successful. She left East West America by the end of the decade. Lyte released the independently produced record The Undaground Heat, featuring Jamie Foxx, in 2003, which was notable for the song "Ride Wit Me". The single was nominated for both a Grammy and a BET Award.

MC Lyte's song "My Main Aim" was the title song of the video game NBA Live 2005 by EA Sports. In 2005, she released two songs produced by Richard "Wolfie" Wolf called "Can I Get It Now" and "Don't Walk Away" (with Meechie). In 2007, she released a song called "Mad at Me" and, in 2008, two songs called "Juke Joint" and "Get Lyte". In 2009 a song titled "Brooklyn" was released, as well as "Craven".

"Dear John" (featuring Common & 10Beats) was released on September 9, 2014 and peaked on the Billboard Twitter Trending 140 chart at number three.[14] After twelve years without an album, MC Lyte's eighth album, Legend, came out on April 18, 2015. "Ball" (featuring Lil Mama & AV)[15] and "Check" are also singles from the album.[16]


Lyte has been featured on television as herself on such shows as In Living Color, Moesha, Cousin Skeeter, New York Undercover, My Wife and Kids, and Sisters in the Name of Rap. She also acted on TV in such shows as In the House, Get Real, Half & Half, Queen of the South, and The District.

Her first acting role was in 1991, an off-Broadway theater play titled Club Twelve, a hip-hop twist on Twelfth Night alongside Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Lisa Nicole Carson. After she made her film debut in the 1993 movie titled Fly by Night, starring alongside Jeffrey Sams, Ron Brice, and Steve Gomer, she also starred other films, such as A Luv Tale (1999), Train Ride (2000), Civil Brand (2002) and Playa's Ball (2003). In 2011, she guest starred in the Regular Show episode "Rap It Up", portraying a member of a hip-hop group also including characters voiced by Tyler, the Creator and Childish Gambino. She also played "DEA Special Agent Katrina 'K.C.' Walsh" in the Police drama S.W.A.T.

Other activities

In June 2006, MC Lyte was interviewed for the documentary The Rap Report, Part 2. MC Lyte talked about her career in rap music and what it was like during the beginnings of hip hop. She also performs a concert of her most famous hits. The program is produced by Rex Barnett.

In February 2006, her diary, as well as a turntable, records, and other assorted ephemera from the early days of hip hop, were donated to the Smithsonian Institution.[17] This collection, entitled "Hip-Hop Won't Stop: The Beat, the Rhymes, the Life" is a program to assemble objects of historical relevance to the hip hop genre from its inception.[18]

In 2007, Lyte joined the cast of MTV's Celebrity Rap Superstar[19] and coached Shar Jackson to a hip hop emcee victory in a mere eight weeks. During that same time, Lyte hit the road in between shooting and joined the Roots for a nationwide VH1 House of Blues Tour.

Business and commerce

MC Lyte opened Shaitel, a Los Angeles boutique that specialized in accessories from belts to sunglasses. "We sell a mixture of new and vintage [items]," she explained. "We also have a few signature pieces that are done just for the store. We boast to bring a little New York flavor out here to California."[20]

In 1997, MC Lyte launched Sunni Gyrl Inc., a global entertainment firm that specializes in artist management and development, production, and creative services and consulting.


In 1996, MC Lyte began doing voiceovers, working on a short-lived BET show called The Boot and doing some branding for the Starz network, Tide, AT&T, the National Urban League, and many others.

DJ MC Lyte

MC Lyte served as the DJ of choice at Michael Jordan's 50th Birthday Celebration, at his 2013 wedding reception, and at Jay Leno's farewell party.


MC Lyte has spoken at colleges and universities, for organizations around the globe, and with notable people like Iyanla Vanzant, Russell Simmons, and Soledad O'Brien bringing a message of empowerment from her book Unstoppable: Igniting the Power Within to Achieve Your Greatest Potential. She also partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund on the iLEAD international tour [21] in South Africa to empower the continent's youth and up and coming leaders.

Leadership and philanthropy

MC Lyte served as the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy (the Grammy organization) from 2011 to 2013.[22] She was the first African American woman to serve in this role.[22]

She is the founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation,[23] which presented two $100,000 scholarships to college students each of the first two years of its inception and three $50,000 scholarships as a part of its #EducateOurMen initiative during its third year during the Soul Train Music Awards Red Carpet Preshow.[24]

Honors and awards

MC Lyte's track "Ruffneck" was nominated for a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rap Single, making her the first female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy.[8]

In October 2006, MC Lyte was one of the honored artists on VH1's annual award show Hip Hop Honors.[25] She was joined by fellow female MC's Da Brat, Remy Ma, and Lil' Kim as they performed some of her tracks, such as "Cha Cha Cha", "Lyte as a Rock", "Paper-Thin", and "Ruffneck".

In 2013, MC Lyte received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Hip Hop Inaugural Ball. She was the first female solo hip hop artist to receive BET's "I Am Hip Hop" Icon Lifetime Achievement Award.[8][26].

Voice-Acting Works

She did the voice of Tia for the Mattel toy line Diva Starz from 2000 to 2004.


Studio albums


  1. "MC Lyte Net Worth". 2 September 2010.
  2. "MC Lyte: Still Rockin' With The Best (Interview by Han O'Connor)". 2010-01-13. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  3. 1 2 "MC Lyte Biography". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  4. "Ladies First: 31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop". 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  5. "MC Lyte reps feminist beat at hip-hop conference". The Metropolitan. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  6. "MC Lyte". Philadelphia CityPaper. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  7. Joan, Newlon Radner (1993). Feminist Messages: Coding in Women's Folk Culture. University of Illinois Press.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Orcutt, KC (March 25, 2016). "The First Ladies Of Rap: MC Lyte". The Source. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  9. 1 2 MC Lyte. "MC Lyte". (Interview). Retrieved September 2, 2016. Actually Milk and Giz are totally like my brothers but they are not my blood brothers but I was basically raised within that family.
  10. Light, Alan (1999). The Vibe History of Hip Hop. New York City: Three Rivers Press. p. 182. ISBN 0-609-80503-7.
  11. "MC Lyte Wedding Photos- [site:name]".
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 MC Lyte (January 7, 2011). "Full Clip: MC Lyte Breaks Down Her Entire Catalogue (Brandy, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J & More)". Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  13. "I Wanna Be Down (Remix)" – Brandy (feat. MC Lyte, YoYo & Queen Latifah)
  14. "MC Lyte Returns, Charts With 'Dear John' From Next Album". Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  15. Coleman, C. Vernon (2015-04-18). "MC Lyte Drops Her First Album in 12 Years, 'Legend' - XXL". Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  16. Diaz, Evelyn. "MC Lyte Goes Vinyl for New Album". Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  17. "MC Lyte's diary goes to Smithsonian". Latin American Herald Tribune.
  18. "Hip-Hop Comes to the Smithsonian" (Press release). National Museum of American History. 2006-02-28. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  19. "Celebrity Rap Superstar – Ep. 101 – Let the Raps Begin". MTV.
  20. "MC Lyte, Birthday on October 11th, MC Lyte Biography, Career, Achievements". 1971-10-11. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  21. "Thurgood Marshall College Fund Presents iLead". Thurgood Marshall College Fund. 2013-05-01. Archived from the original on 2013-06-16.
  22. 1 2 MC Lyte (January 13, 2015). "MC Lyte Explains How To Join The Recording Academy & Vote In The GRAMMY Awards". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  23. Grimm, Marrio (2010-10-29). "MC Lyte on Her Site for Women 'Hip Hop Sisters'". Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  24. "Two MC Lyte $100,000 First Wave Scholarship Winners: 2nd Year in a Row". 2012-09-04.
  25. "VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2006: Da Brat Does MC Lyte". 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  26. "MC Lyte to Be Honored With I Am Hip Hop Award". BET. 2013-09-12.
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